STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–"Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan–who left Italy a couple of days before–went to Nagorno Karabakh."
This sensational information was published by the Russian "Kommersant Daily" newspaper of January 21 1999. Authors of the information–Oleg Maksimenko and Aleksandr Safronov–allege that "the authorities of self-declared transcaucasian republic voiced readiness to give sanctuary to Ocalan."
Karabakh presidential spokeswoman Zhanna Krikorova described this information as absurd and not corresponding to the real state of affairs.
"This information could have been called absurd and ridiculous–if there were not an evident provocation against Nagorno-Karabakh Republic," Karabakh Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian told journalists–commenting on the Kommersant Daily’s information. "Apparently–the peaceful image of Nagorno Karabakh worries some forces; there is no other explanation for this hoax," she added.
Melkoumian said that "there have been no attempts on the part of Mr. Ocalan or his representatives to contact the Karabakh authorities; and consequently his arrival in Karabakh–including transit–is absolutely excluded."
The Kommersant Daily writes that "if any supervising commission set up on Turkey’s initiative tries to catch Ocalan in Nagorno Karabakh–it will take a couple of hours to take him to Iran–which–as is known–does not have warm relations with Turkey" and on the border of which Karabakh opened several check points.